RedHill Biopharma has received additional funds worth $1.7m from the US Government to advance the development of opaganib as a medical countermeasure (MCM) for gastrointestinal acute radiation syndrome (GI-ARS).

Apogee Biotechnology, RedHill’s development partner, received a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) award to support the research for developing the small molecule. 

The latest award comes after opaganib received a product pipeline development contract under the government’s Radiation and Nuclear Countermeasures Program (RNCP).

The previous contract was granted subsequent to the RNCP’s choice of opaganib for development in the ARS setting.

Opaganib is a new oral pill with a shelf life of five years. 

Due to the ease of administration and supply, it potentially enables stockpiling by the government for usage in radiological or nuclear incidents, upon obtaining approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). 

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By GlobalData

RedHill Biopharma CEO Dror Ben-Asher stated: “This latest additional US government funding from the SBIR, in addition to the RNCP development collaboration, is expected to help ensure that we and our partner Apogee can rapidly progress opaganib’s development for ARS. 

“In parallel, we plan to continue our existing collaborations and discussions with other US Government agencies and other governments regarding opaganib for ARDS, Covid-19 and other indications, as well as for our other new chemical entity (NCE) under clinical development, RHB-107 (upamostat).”

In March 2022, the company entered a licence agreement with Kukbo for oral opaganib (ABC294640) for Covid-19 treatment in South Korea.